AfriForum lays charges against EFF leaders over H&M protest

2018-01-15 18:03
A picture taken on 13 January 2018 in Sandton City shopping mall in Johannnesburg shows the H&M clothing store closed after members the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition party stormed the store in protest of a alleged racist slogan printed on a hoodie that caused uproar on social media. (AFP)

A picture taken on 13 January 2018 in Sandton City shopping mall in Johannnesburg shows the H&M clothing store closed after members the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition party stormed the store in protest of a alleged racist slogan printed on a hoodie that caused uproar on social media. (AFP)

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Johannesburg – Following the EFF’s protests against a racist advert by international clothing brand H&M, some of its leaders now face charges.

Gauteng police confirmed on Monday morning that they were investigating multiple malicious damage to property charges after EFF protesters entered H&M stores at various shopping malls across the country, including Sandton City and Menlyn Park shopping mall in Pretoria, on Saturday over a racist advertisement last week.

On Monday morning, AfriForum said it would lay charges of incitement of public violence against EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema, deputy president Floyd Shivambu, and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

READ: H&M stores are closed because they called our children baboons – Malema

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said the organisation was planning to lay these charges against Malema, Shivambu and Ndlozi because the three had allegedly used their influence to incite their supporters to carry out the protests at the stores.

"We are concerned by the fact that we have three individuals who are political leaders and have a significant following who use their platform to incite people," he said.

"Our complaint isn’t concerned with the plundering of the shops, but with the fact that we have influential people who encourage people to do this and who make statements on social media which seem to show that they condone this behaviour to achieve their political goals," Roets said.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the police were currently investigating cases of malicious damage to property and illegal gathering.

"At this stage, no one has been arrested. Once the investigations have been finalised, the cases will be forwarded to the NPA for a decision," he said.

'Totally unacceptable'

Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Refiloe Nt'sekhe said the party would be writing to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to lodge an official complaint against H&M over the racist advertisement.

"It is clear that H&M have violated the ICC’s code of advertising with their racially-discriminatory advert. We, therefore, request that the ICC, as the foremost retail authority, fully investigate this incident and institute appropriate sanctions once an investigation has been completed," Nt'sekhe said.

"The DA will also write to H&M South Africa to express our deep concern over this tasteless advert which evokes painful sentiments among black South Africans, as well as the black community abroad," she said.

ALSO READ: H&M 'racist' ad adds to company's woes

Nt'sekhe said the retailer had an obligation to register these concerns with their monitoring body.

"The DA strongly condemns destruction of property and vandalism. The displays of violence at H&M stores across the country are totally unacceptable and violence is no way to fight racism, but only compounds it," she said.

Ndlozi was not immediately available for comment, but said in a Facebook post at the weekend that the party would visit every institution it deemed as racist.

"Every single racist institution will be visited by the red brigade to ensure there are consequences to any denigration of the black race! #EFFprotest against H&M is not the last one," he said.

Read more on:    afriforum  |  da  |  eff  |  h&m  |  racism

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